I felt as if this tour needed it’s own blog so here it is. My friend Elissa was pretty much my booking agent and did all the work for me since she is the local. She emailed firstname.lastname@example.org and told them our names and the date we wanted (so undercover). After there was a back and forth on how there was only Thursday available and since she works she said I should still go ahead since she still lives in S. Korea and can go later.
I took the opportunity and on Thursday morning I was on an early train to the City Hall station where I got off and entered Hotel President to check into the tour. I really had no idea what I was walking into nor what to expect, but the outcome was SO good. First it was a clear day and it wasn’t AS busy because it was a weekday so overall good start.
- The first stop was Imjingak (Freedom Bridge) which was used to exchange the prisoners after the Korean war hence “Freedom Bridge.”
- Dora Observatory: Where I got to see N. Korea’s propaganda village and could even see how there were no windows AND they were broadcasting to S. Korea… It was surreal. Also one can see the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) where I thought ‘Wow, it still looks like a war zone.’ Remember no expectations.
- Then we went to the Dorasan Station: A station ready to run from S. Korea that could technically connect all the way to Europe. If and when it does I’m coming back! So the hope to reconnect was once there; now a little questionable (in my opinion.)
- Finally the 3rd Tunnel: a tunnel discovered in 1978. 73 meters below ground and was obviously designed for a surprise attack on Seoul.
- Lunch: Where I met a Fulbright-er from back in the day who did research in the Netherlands.
- JSA (Joint Security Area) Where important meetings are held between both Koreas Technically I was in North Korea in the blue room which is the MAC Conference Room. Also in the far back I could see a North Korean soldier and just kept thinking how strange the entire tour set up actually is. (in a good way) The photo of the ground is taken from the North Korean side of the room
- Finally from inside the Bus we got to take photos of the Bridge of no return: where the last time someone ran through it was for safe haven from an incident: Actually 2 American Soldiers and they actually were immediately abducted and more than likely killed.
So there is you little sight see history lesson by me. The anti- historian. Not really, I just enjoy history as I’m at it’s monuments more than a book.
Been to North Korea (Technically),